A building survey (diagnostic immobilier in French, word for word building diagnostic) consists of a study within a building to check installations and check for presence of armful/toxic materials. The goal is to inform potential buyers about the specifications and general state of the property on sale.
The seller must present a list of currently valid surveys to be able to sell the property. Documents collected by the seller must be attached to the preliminary sale agreement as well as to the binding sale agreement.
Surveys only cover an obligation to inform : whichever the findings, the sale can proceed, and the seller is never obliged to do any work on the property.
Here are the 10 mandatory building surveys to be done by the seller in 2019 in France:
1. Energy performance survey (Diagnostic de performance énergétique DPE)
The DPE give the buyer an isght into the thermal insulation of the building. Mandatory Valid for 10 years. To be redone in the case of subtantial building works.
2. Surface area measurement Carrez law (Métrage loi Carrez)
To sell accommodation within a jointly owned building, the surface area measurement Carrez law is mandatory to establish the living surface area. Mandatory – Unlimited validity except when building works have been done.
3. Electricity survey (Diagnostic électricité)
The electricity survey checks whether the electrical panel and the rest of the electrical installation meet state standards. Mandatory for any accommodation whose electrical installation is more than 15 years old – Valid for 3 years.
4. Gas survey (Diagnostic gaz)
This survey checks the general state of the gas installation. Mandatory for any accommodation with gas installation older than 15 years. – Valid for 3 years.
5. Asbestos survey (Diagnostic amiante)
Checking the presence ou absence of asbestos. Mandatory for any building whose building permit was delivered before 1st July 1997 (date when the material was prohibited) – Unlimited validity if no trace of asbestos is detected. If presence of asbestos is detected, a follow up survey must be done within the 3 years following the initial survey. Should the survey have been done before 2013, it must be renewed when sold, even if no trace of asbestos has been detected before.
6. Lead survey (Diagnostic Plomb)
Old paint made with lead are toxic, and a survey must check on their presence. Mandatory for any accommodation built before 1st January 1949. Before this date lead was sometimes used as a component in paints. – Unlimited validity if notrace of lead is detected – 1 year if levels of lead detected are beyond various thresholds.
7. Termites survey (Diagnostic termites)
Parasitic state (état parasitaire) with regards to termites can be shown through this survey. Mandatory for any property situated within a geographical area deemed contaminated or at risk. By order of local authority (arrêté préfectoral). To know which areas are included, consult the local regions map (carte des départements) affected by a local authority decision in 2012 – Valid for 6 months.
8. Natural and technological hasards (Risques naturels et technologiques)
The ERNMT (État des Risques Naturels, Miniers et Technologiques ; State of natural , mining and technological hasards) gives visual confirmation of whether the property is within a perimeter exposed to hasards (flood, earthquake…). Mandatory – Valid for 6 months.
9. Wastewater survey (Diagnostic assainissement)
Checking wastewater installation. Mandatory for any accommodation with wastewater installation not part of a shared system – Valid for 3 years.
10. Information on dry-rot
Any building within zones defined by local authority decisions (arrêtés préfectoraux). Mandatory – Validity : no fixed duration.